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Samir was fast asleep when we first met him.

Samir was fast asleep when we first met him.

Samir was born with clubfoot on both feet. We first met him in December 2017, and for the past nine months we have helped to treat his orthopedic deformities in order to help him lead a happier and healthier future.

“Our life was hell”

Ten years ago, before the start of the Syrian War, Amira and her husband Hatem married in Lebanon. Both are Syrian, but Hatem lived and worked in Lebanon. Amira continued to live in Syria, and would visit her husband every few weeks.

However, this regular trip that she would do with ease every few weeks became increasingly treacherous after the start of the war. Every single year, as the war became more and more violent, this journey became a real struggle, until Amira feared she would be permanently separated from her husband.

One day the town that Amira lived in was taken over by armed militia. As a woman, she wasn’t allowed to leave the house, and she had to stay there with her children. She was too scared to send her children out to fetch food for her, fearing for their lives. Life deteriorated for them as airstrikes began to bombard their town from opposing sides. “Our life was hell,” Amira said.

Amira doesn’t talk about how she and her family managed to escape their town and flee to Lebanon two years ago. She skirts over the topic and looks down at her hands with tears in her eyes.

Life in Lebanon

Their lives improved slightly upon coming to Lebanon, but it is still a daily struggle. To accommodate his family, Hatem found a place in a refugee camp in Lebanon. Work became scarce. As a result, they struggled to pay rent, and were evicted a number of times.

It was around this time that Amira became pregnant. They hoped for the best for their new child, but feared that their future wasn’t as bright as they’d like.

“They hid his deformity from me”

When Samir was born, doctors took him away to examine him. Hatem’s mother was with Amira in the hospital. “They hid his deformity from me until we got back home and had rested,” she told us. When she found out, she couldn’t stop crying. “I blamed myself at first. I felt like it was my fault.”

Eventually, she realized that there were ways to help Samir. They went to Doctors Without Borders, who explained that they should contact INARA, who they knew had just launched a new project to help children with orthopedic deformities.

As with most of our clubfoot cases, Samir was provided with casting sessions for eight weeks. After that he was fitted with a brace that he will have to wear until he is two or three years old.

Samir’s mom is so happy with the treatment we have provided for her son. “The change is long term,” she explained to us. “He will be able to walk just like other children his age, and without pain. This kind of treatment has really changed his life.”

Samir's treatment was funded by UNICEF.

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